Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
I reluctantly walk to the playroom, and sure enough, there is a little round nugget sitting smack dab in the middle of the floor, like a marble from the wrong side of the tracks.
"Who does this belong to?" I say through clenched teeth, as if ownership matters.
Three sets of blinking eyes look up at me: Greta, Finn and Casper, our dog. "Not me," Greta and Finn say simultaneously. The dog perks her ears up and cocks her head, as if to say "I'm too cute to do something like that. Can I have some cheese?"
Every inch of today has been a struggle, and I'm feeling sorry for myself.
It took ten minutes to put Finn's shoes on this morning, because he had a meltdown after I put his left shoe on first. "NOOOOOOO. DA OTHER SHOOOOOOOE FIRST! WAAAAAH!" he sobbed over and over, curled in a tight little ball and refusing to budge. Greta's self-selected outfit would have looked beautiful on Easter, but not a stormy, rainy freezing day in February. Subsequent outfit selections are only marginally better, and she almost misses the bus.
After school I battle with Greta about doing her homework, with Finn about the appropriate places to draw: NOT on the dog, your body or the wall, please, just on paper. He finds the loophole and draws a rainstorm - on paper - with a dark blue marker he punches through the paper making dark round stains on the carpet. I send him crying to his room, amending my ruling: and not on the carpet, only on the TABLE!
Because of less-than-stellar behavior I ban the television and computer for the rest of the day; this proves to punish only me because they follow me around, whining that there is no food in the house, nothing to do, I'm a Horrible Mean Mother.
We have a grocery delivery service. Ordinarily, this is the best thing that ever happened to me - they bring your groceries right into your house! - but due to torrential winds and rain the delivery guy is late. Really late. There is, quite literally, nothing to serve for dinner. Steve is away on a business trip; no reinforcements are forthcoming. The whining and complaining escalates, and I lock myself in the bathroom, count to ten and try to ground myself.
That's when they make their pronouncement about the unclaimed fecal matter on the floor.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Squaring my shoulders, I walk confidently down the stairs - I can see myself as though from above: a brave girl, a second grader, old enough to help herself. In the kitchen I flick on the lights - a moment of blindness - then the darkness scurries into the corners. I pour a glass of water, and decide to drink it standing at the kitchen sink, to show myself how brave I am. As I'm gulping the water down, my eye falls on the darkened kitchen windows. Was that a flicker of movement outside? My heart quickens, but I stand firm. I'm not scared, I tell myself, there is nothing to fear.
As I rinse the glass and put it in the sink, I hear a creak, a groan. I freeze. Have I heard that noise before? Is someone watching me?
Getting panicky now, I will myself to turn slowly away from the sink and walk back to the stairs. I flick off the kitchen light, and the shadows leap up at me.
I fly up the stairs, my nightgown streaming behind me, my heart thudding in my chest. I am certain there is some thing close behind me, hunting me down. I don't dare turn around - just RUN, I think. I tear down the dimly lit hallway. Just get to my bed, just get to my bed. I'll be safe in my bed.
Just as I'm convinced ghostly cold fingers are about to wrap around my throat, I reach my bed. I dive under the covers, making sure no stray foot or hand is hanging over the edge of the bed, where monsters could snatch them.
After about one minute, the comfort and familiarity of my bed soothe me, my fears shrink back, evaporate. I chuckle to myself: silly girl, I think. There was nothing to be afraid of in the first place.
Now I am safe.
Now I am safe.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"Momma, dere's the cemetawy. Dat's where people go when they die. But I'm not going dere."
I've learned to keep my answers short, or to answer with a question. I don't want to complicate matters, and most of his questions/statements aren't answerable, anyway.
"You're not going there?"
"Nope. I'm going to stay a kid forevah, because I don't want to go in da cemetawy, and I don't want ahmpit hair."
"Everyone grows up, hon."
"Not me. I talked to God about it, and He said dat's okay."
"So what age do you want to be forever?"
"Seven. Like Sissy. She gets to go on da bus."
Last week, as we passed the cemetary, he was uncharacteristically quiet. I peeked into the backseat: his head was bowed and his lips were silently moving.
"What are you doing, Finn?"
"What are you praying for?"
"For da people in Heaven."
My heart swells. "That's nice, honey."
"Yeah. I was telling dem dat I won't see dem in Heaven because I'm nevah going to be a gwown up."
I don't know where this is coming from, because we haven't lost any family members recently, although our kitty, Coalie, died in November. I asked him if he was praying about Coalie.
"No, silly. Coalie had da nine lives. So he is wif another family now."
"When da sand runs out, somebody dies," he said.
I gulped. Here I am again: one of those parenting moments where I'm completely clueless. Is this a big deal? How do I respond?
"It's just a timer for a game, sweetie," I finally reply. "Nobody dies when the sand runs out."
He looks up at me. "Yes dey do!" He's grinning. He doesn't look sad, or traumatized, so I decide to let it go. A few minutes later I'm in the next room, and I hear his little singsong voice. Curious to see what he's saying, I peek around the corner. Oblivious to my prying eyes, Finn is looking at the hour glass, and singing a little prayer:
"It's okay, it's gonna be okay. God and da angels are in Heaven, and da Holy Spirits, and da bootiful clouds and da people and God and da angels are wif you. And da Holy Spirits. And God loves you, and God loves me, and God loves......" he pauses, ".... and God loves..... God loves....... DONUTS!"
I want to swoop in, hug him, tell him everything will be okay. But, of course, I can't promise that. And besides, he doesn't need comforting. He's okay. In his own little 4 year old way, he's working through his thoughts and fears. Or maybe he isn't afraid at all, maybe I'm just projecting my own fears into his innocent world.
Monday, February 22, 2010
I want to know all about you - what are your dreams, your fears, your idiosyncracies? What keeps you up at night? What do you love about yourself? What do you hate? I feel other peoples' feelings like they are my own. If you're sad, I'll cry for you. If you're jubilant, my heart soars.
I have a harder time drumming up this kind of curiosity about myself, though.
I just finished a book by Christopher Kennedy Lawford called Moments of Clarity. Lawford, who is a recovering alcoholic and addict, interviewed dozens of celebrites, politicians - people in the public eye - about the moment they knew they had a problem with addiction. This is not the same thing as rock bottom, mind you. A few of the people he interviewed had a moment of clarity about their addiction and proceeded to continue drinking or using for some time. What Lawford was exploring was the moment they knew, with frightening lucidity, that substance abuse had taken the reins; that they were powerless over alcohol, drugs, or both.
I do this with bigger things, too, like addiction and recovery. I remember my own moment of clarity, the moment I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had a problem with alcohol. It happened in a flash. Some lucid part of my brain broke through and shouted: what are you doing? This is no way to live! It felt it like a punch in the gut. As quickly as it came, it was gone, replaced by my carefully constructed justifications and rationales. By my denial. I continued drinking for two more years.
Oddly, in recovery it feels like the stakes are higher. I feel, on some days, like the only thing between me and the web of addiction is my ability to try to be truthful with myself. This can be exhausting. Who wants to spend much time peeking into the darker corners of their psyche? The temptation to overlook reality, to gloss over the parts that make me uncomfortable, is huge.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Oh, God, if they only knew.
Greta, who is two, calls out to me to push her on the swings. I flash the other Moms a knowing glance – so much for adult time – and walk carefully over to the swings. I’m grateful for the interruption: my hands were starting to tremble, ever so slightly, and I was having a hard time holding my coffee steady.
I push Greta on the swings, her laughter coming to me as though from a great distance. My head pounds, my gut churns, and I’m starting to sweat.
“Two more minutes, then we have to go,” I whisper to Greta.
She immediately begins to wail. “NOOOOO! I wanna STAY!” The other mothers glance over, sympathetic.
I grit my teeth and smile wider. “I know you’re disappointed, but we really have to go.”
She jumps off the swing and throws herself on the ground, crying. I’ve got to get out of here. I scoop Greta up, and she clings to me, sobbing. Her cries cut me to the bone, the other mothers’ stares feel like lasers. Do they know? Can they tell? They are all smiling at me, wishing me luck. I give a quick laugh – oh, two year olds, what can you do? - and wave as I scuttle to the car.
I drive home, my hands gripping the wheel, my thoughts racing. I’ll be okay once I’m home. I just need to get home.
I put Greta down for her nap, humming to her until she falls asleep. My hands are shaking in earnest, now, and my headache is blinding. I head downstairs and open the fridge, telling myself I’m going to have a glass of milk to settle my stomach. My eyes fall on the one-quarter full bottle of Chardonnay, glistening at the back of the top shelf. I reach for the milk, and grab the bottle of wine instead. Just one sip, to take the edge off, I think. It’s not like I’m going to get drunk in the middle of the afternoon. Just one to feel better. I take a long swig, and my stomach heaves. I wait a moment, wondering if it will stay down. It does. I take another swig, and the shaking in my hands stops. My body relaxes, my mind is blissfully quiet.
An hour later the bottle is empty. How did that happen? I don’t feel drunk, or even a little buzzed. I feel normal, finally. Without thinking about what I’m doing, I go to the sink, fill the empty bottle one-quarter full with water from the tap and shove it in the back of the fridge. I’ll have to buy some more later, I think. Before Steve gets home I’ll replace the water with wine, and pour the rest down the sink because tonight I’m not going to drink.
And at that moment, I mean it.
My daughter wakes up from her nap, and we sit on the floor and do puzzles, play games. My body is warm, glowing, and my patience is infinite. Again, a snapshot flashes through my brain: a happy, involved mother playing with her child. A good mother, an engaged mother. Not an alcoholic mother. I think: alcoholic mothers don’t play with their kids like this.
At 6pm, we sit down to dinner. I’m smiling, slightly flushed, animated. My husband and I chat about our day and Greta babbles along with us, pleased at her growing vocabulary. I have replaced the bottle in the fridge, up to the same level as before, pouring three-quarters of it into a large water bottle now stashed in the bathroom closet. Steve and I have a glass of wine with dinner. I have promised him I’ll cut back on my drinking, so I make sure he doesn’t notice when I duck away to the bathroom to nip from the water bottle filled with wine.
It’s my turn to put Greta to bed. I’m in an expansive, buoyant mood, and I make a game out of brushing her teeth and putting on her pajamas. I kiss her good night, tell her I love her, and head back downstairs thinking: see? I can control my drinking. I played with my kid, fixed dinner, put her to bed. I am so much more patient after a glass or two of wine.
It’s 10pm, and I come out of a grey-out. I’m yelling at my husband about something – what? – I can’t remember. He looks at me with hurt and disgust and heads upstairs to bed. I’m crying, but I don’t know why. I turn on some sad music, flop on the couch and sob. Nobody understands me. I’m unlovable. I need a drink. I tiptoe to the bathroom and rummage around under the folded towels until I find the hidden water bottle. It’s empty. I begin to panic. I can’t be out, I’ll never make it, and then I remember another stash in the back of the coat closet.
One last snapshot: me, on my hands and knees in the coat closet, drinking straight from the open bottle, full of relief that there is more wine.
I think: tomorrow is a new day. It’s just that today was extra stressful. I won't drink tomorrow.
I don’t know it, of course, but I still have two more years of tomorrows to go.
This week's giveaway is for the Three Peas in a Pod Necklace:
Click on the top picture to see the listing in my Etsy shop. To enter, please leave a comment below saying you would like to enter. Please let an email address where you can be contacted if you win! If you are more comfortable emailing me directly, please do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This giveaway is open internationally.
The winner will be chosen on March 1st; my daughter draws a name from a hat.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I don't know where Finn's obsession with marriage came from, but last week he started peppering me with questions:
"Do I hafta get mahweed?" (every time he says that I think of that scene from Princess Bride: Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...)
"If I wanna mahwee Tim, can I?"
"Do I hafta kiss when I get mahweed? Cause dat's GWOSS."
"Too many girls wanna mahwee me. So I'm gonna mahwee dem all. Dat's okay, wight?"
There is one girl who has consistently held a special place in his heart, though. He has been proclaiming his affection for her for over a year. He hasn't told her, yet, which is probably for the best. The girl he wants to marry most is Ren. Damomma's Ren. The Dialobical Genius Ren. The one who could eat him for lunch and look adorable doing it?
The other day, in the car on the way to school, he says for the umpteenth time: "I'm gonna mahwee Wen."
Greta: "I don't think Ren's Dad is going to like that, Finn."Finn: "I don't want to mahwee her Dad, I want to mahwee WEN!"
It's a match made in heaven. Finn is utterly, completely content being stagehand to Ren's Director. Greta was a big fan of the idea, because then Ren's sister Mary, who is one of her best friends, would be her sister-in-law. I amused myself by picturing what sort of wedding Ren would want to have. It's hard to say, but I know there won't be any tulle involved.
And Damomma and I would be the mothers-in-law. How freaking awesome would that be? I've already picked out the hat I'll wear to their wedding:
They'd be adorable together wouldn't they?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
It's an innocent question, asked by people I've just met at a dinner party, a playgroup or committee meeting. I meet someone, we engage in the perfunctory and polite introductions, there is that awkward lull, and then I'm asked The Question:
"What do you do?"
I shuffle my feet uncomfortably, my mind casting around for an answer.
"Umm, er, I'm a Mom?" I say, shrugging apologetically.
Why do I feel so apologetic about saying I'm a Mom - like I should have a better, more interesting response? For some reason it feels wrong to answer that question with lively bits of information about myself - how I have a little jewelry business or I love to write - because that doesn't feel like I'm answering the question properly. Once I say I'm a mother, though, the conversation is always about the kids. Always. I feel like I slip into a kind of invisibility, like I'm an anecdote or an afterthought.
When someone asks me what I do, my subconscious starts screaming: I do everything and nothing! Why, what's it to you?
For some reason, that question feels like a challenge hurled at my feet. I'm defensive about it.
I'm learning, in recovery, to pay attention to things that make me defensive, because behind the defensiveness lurks something I'm not paying attention to, something I'm not owning.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why it's a mine field for me, this innocent question. It's because I spent most of my adult life, my pre-kid life, answering that question without giving it a second thought. "Me? Oh, I'm an Executive Recruiter for a Global Firm," or "I'm a District Manager for an Insurance Company." Easy peasy. I didn't get all shuffley and apologetic.
I get prickly because I feel like I should be all chest-thumpy about being a mother, that I should want to wear it like a badge of honor. I can't say the truth: Oh, Jeez. You had to ask. Well, I'm raising two beautiful kids and that should be enough, right? But it doesn't always feel like enough, but I feel like it SHOULD be enough and I feel a little lost some days. I think I'm having an identity crisis. I'm trying to strike that balance between being a Mom and Having A Life. I have a right to both, right? Don't you think so?
So I just talk about the kids. It's simpler, really.
What we do doesn't define who we are, it doesn't paint the full picture, and yet we wrap our identities around it, measure our own worth around it. When I worked in Corporate America this didn't bother me, because I could shed what I did like a cloak and do something else anytime I wanted to.
Becoming a mother has changed the game on me. It comes naturally to wrap my identity up in what I do, but motherhood isn't something I can ever shed like a cloak. Nor would I want to. But it's a journey to learn how to be a Mom and not lose myself in the process. I drank over this for years, feeling stuck and resentful, like I wasn't allowed to be anything but a Mom. Even when I worked, I was the Mom Who Worked. I mourned the loss of my free, independent and ever-changing identity.
Now I'm a Mom Who Makes Jewelry and Writes. The only difference is I have acceptance that I'm a Mom first. I embrace it, now. It doesn't define me, it's just the Most Important Thing.
If it were up to me, though, I'd eliminate that question - what do you do? - entirely. From now on, I wish everyone would ask: "What are you becoming?"
Because that's what really matters.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Speaking of exercise, you may all throw me a little parade because I got up at 5:30am - 5:30am!!! - this morning to go work out. Turns out there is this whole little universe of people who get up early to do healthy things. Who knew?
It began when my friend Jackie sent me a Facebook message a few days ago asking if I'd meet her at the gym this morning at 6am. After nearly choking on my Everlasting Gobstopper, I thought about it. Why not? Why can't I be one of those people who gets up early to go do things? I could think of it like a cultural experiment - who ARE those people and what do they look like? Before I could stop myself I sent her a message back, saying I would meet her. There. Now I was committed. I don't mind letting myself down, but other people are a different story. Jackie was counting on me. Her whole world would crumble if I wasn't there, right?
For the past year Steve has been asking me, with varying degrees of politeness and subtlety, to work out. He can find an opening for this topic in any conversation:
Me: "How bout those Red Sox, huh?"
Steve: "Yeah. They must work out a lot."
Me: "Are you calling me fat?"
Steve: "I've got this situation with a client I really need to work out."
Me: "Are you calling me fat?"
Steve: "I wonder if we'll ever work out the situation in the Middle East and no-I'm-not-calling-you-fat."
I'm a little touchy about the topic of exercise. I know it's good for me. I know it gives me more energy, I'm nicer and more in balance when I'm working out. If sitting around wishing you felt like working out burned calories, I'd be a super model.
I've learned something about myself in the past couple of years, though. If I pressure myself to do something out of obligation, or because I feel like I have to, I simply won't do it. I can make a quiet rebellion out of anything.
Steve figured out a while ago that asking me if I'm going to the gym is a dead end. With him off my back, I started arguing with myself about it: I don't have time, I don't need pressure to do one more thing, nobody tells me what to do, dammit! Not even me!
So I waited. I let myself off the hook completely, told myself I don't have to work out if I don't want to, that I'm fine just the way I am. Pressure's off. Sure enough, the next day I get Jackie's message and I think, "Sure? Why not?"
It was Steve who sealed the deal, though. Last night I nonchalantly asked him to set the alarm clock for 5:30am, like it was no big thing.
"WHAT?!?" he gaped. "5:30am? YOU?"
"Sure, why not?" I replied. "I told Jackie I'd meet her."
"You didn't leave yourself a little trapdoor? A little way out?" he asked.
"Well, I did mention that Greta isn't feeling well, and that if she is worse tomorrow morning I may not be able to go."
"You are SO not going."
"Yes I am."
"I will eat my left eyeball if you go. Seriously."
"Get out the knife and fork, baby, because I'm going."
Nobody tells me what I can't do, either.
Well played, Steve. Well played.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Confession #2: I don't know what Bluetooth means. I know it's something cool, important people have which makes me want some Bluetooth, just on principle, but I have no idea what it is.
Confession #3: While we're on the topic of technology, please don't make me talk about computers, ever. I went out to research laptops recently. A kid literally one-third my age was asking me how many 'gigs' I wanted, and if I was interested in 'hyperweave' technology. "Gigs, yeah, gigs. Cool. Yeah, get me some of those," I stammered. "I basically just need it for typing," I admitted. "Do people still call it typing?" He looked at me like I had lost my mind, so I tried to cover with a little humor. "Can I listen to albums on it?" "Is it compatible with my hearing aid?" He didn't laugh, but he did speak a little louder.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Yes, that is permanent marker. And it's on the other side of his face, too. My little Einstein.
Greta said she wanted to draw a picture of me the other day. She said she was going to draw me, on a mountain top, with snow falling all around. She forgot to mention that she would be including one other little detail: what I am apparently thinking about when I'm standing on this mountain:
After a week of sickness, I ended up with the world's largest cold sore on my lip. Seriously, it's big. It has been kind of amusing to talk to people this week and watch them studiously avoid trying to stare at it. Last night I was lecturing Greta about one thing or another, when she put her hand up, and said "Stop, Mom. I just can't take you seriously with that THING on your face."
Parenting question I couldn't answer #435, from Greta: "Mom, who decides which words are bad words? Can I make up my own bad word and say it when I'm mad? Like, why can't 'glap' be a bad word?"
Sunday after church Greta is giggling to herself. I ask her why, and she says "Sometimes? When I'm in church? And it's quiet? I want to yell out "pooooooooop!"
Me to Greta: "Sometimes? When I'm in church? And it's quiet? I want to do that, too..."
It is 10pm, and I poke my head in the kids' room to check on them before heading to bed. Greta is wide awake, staring at the ceiling. "What's wrong?" I ask. "Can't sleep?" She looks at me and rolls her eyes. "No, I can't," she says. "It feels like my brain is doing the Cha-Cha."
It makes me so glapping mad when that happens to me.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
When Steve and I were newly married, we took a trip; a long weekend getaway to a beautiful fishing camp in Maine. It was one of those all-inclusive-yet-rustic establishments - complete with three meals a day, fishing guides, and a romantic log cabin on a lake.
Each night we went to the communal dining hall, sat at the same table and gazed fondly into each other's eyes. We were tired but content, and bubbling with conversation about the day. A much older couple sat at the table next to us three nights in a row. Steve and I surreptitiously watched them out of the corner of our eyes, taking in how they just sat there quietly, looking around room, sipping their wine, silently chewing their food. At the end of the meal he would look at her and say "Done?" She would nod, and they left to retire for the evening. For three nights running, they exchanged a total of three words between them.
"That will never be us," I whispered to Steve conspiratorially. "We will never run out of things to say to each other. How sad."
Fast forward ten years. Steve and I are out to dinner on one of our twice monthly date nights. It is not until we're enjoying our dinner that I realize we haven't spoken in about five minutes, and I hadn't even noticed. We're sitting together in a comfortable, companionable silence, grateful for an hour's relief from the chaos of home. I smile quietly to myself, thinking about that night long ago, full of expectations of what life, marriage, would be like. How easily expectations can set you up to be let down, when real beauty is right in front of you.
Case in point: backtrack eleven years. Steve and I have been dating six years, and we're heading away for the weekend. I'm beside myself with excitement, absolutely certain that he will propose on this trip. We've been talking about marriage a lot recently, he knows I'm ready, and he has been dropping all sorts of hints that he has something special in store for me. I have it all mapped out in my head - the romantic getaway, the roaring fire, Steve down on one knee, the soft velvet box containing a sparkling diamond. I can hardly wait.
We arrive at the cabin, settle in and light a fire. The moment comes, he gulps and looks at me nervously. "I have something for you," he says, fidgeting. "I hid it so you wouldn't find it until I was ready. Why don't you have a look in the Backgammon game?"
I am shaking, I'm so excited. I open the Backgammon game and sure enough, there is the soft velvet box. Steve isn't down on one knee, but what the heck - I'm a modern woman. Everything else is perfect - just as I expected. I draw a deep breath and open the box, preparing to squeal with happiness. In the box is a pretty gold band with a little sapphire on it.
I look at him incredulously. "What is this?" I stammer.
"It's a promise ring," he says happily. "It is my promise to you that we'll get married some day, that I will always love you."
I'm furious. I cry and cry, so angry that things haven't turned out as I expected - as I practically demanded. But sure enough, one year later he proposes at Fenway Park, and a year after that we're married. It all worked out as it was meant to, not as I wanted it to.
Fast forward another five years - it is the Christmas following our fifth anniversary. Steve has been hinting, again, that he has a special gift for me. My mind goes into overdrive - is it a five year anniversary ring? A sparkling diamond band? I ask him if it is jewelry, and he smiles knowingly. I can't wait for Christmas morning when, sure enough, at the bottom of my stocking is a little velvet box. My heart leaps. I open the box slowly, wallowing in the anticipation. I find this:
"Isn't it great?" he asks, smiling.
I won't get in to my reaction - suffice it to say it wasn't graceful and it wasn't pretty. I ruined a beautiful Christmas morning because things didn't turn out like I expected.
I now think of this pin as the Angry Squirrel of Expectations. It's a reminder not to get too caught up in what I want life to bring me. That life will bring me what I need, even if it is in the form of one pissed-off-silver-plated-acorn-carrying squirrel pin.
This year at Christmas, when Steve handed me a little velvet box, I simply smiled. I didn't know what to expect, and it didn't matter. Greta and Finn knew what was in there, and were standing next to Steve looking at me expectantly as I opened it.
Inside was my wedding ring, the same one I had worn since we were married, but it was polished to perfection, gleaming and beautiful. Ten years of wear and tear had damaged it, made it scratched, bent, dull looking and chipped. A few weeks before Steve had asked me if he could borrow it to size something for me, and instead of letting my mind go into overdrive - a new band? a bigger diamond? a sparkling guard ring? I simply handed it over to him and forgot about it.
The irony wasn't lost on me: it was what I always had, only better.
Just like him.
Monday, February 1, 2010
"FINN HIT ME!" Greta wails, and I cringe. Her hair is a mess, the kids need a bath, there is a huge pile of laundry to be folded. And the dishes need to be washed. Again. God, I'm so angry.
I want to run away, I want to scream. I want a drink.
Just one. I just want that warm glow, that peaceful, relaxed feeling that creeps into my limbs after the first few sips. I want to quiet that roar in my head; I just want to care a little less for an hour, or two.
"STOP IT, GRETA!" Finn screams. "MOOOOOOOOOOOOM!"
Shutupshutupshutupshutupshup, I think. God, just please shut up and leave me be.
Now both kids are crying. The dog barks louder. I snap.
"THAT. IS. IT!" I yell, and the kids' eyes go wide. I slam the spoon down on the counter and march out of the kitchen.
I storm upstairs into my room and throw myself on the bed. I'm too angry to cry. Images swirl in my head: happy, normal couples sitting down to dinner with a glass of wine in hand, laughing contentedly. I hate that I can't drink. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.
It has gone quiet downstairs - no barking dog, no screaming kids. I hear my husband come up from his workshop. I hear murmuring, and the television comes on at a low volume.
I sigh. I try to think of all the things I've learned. I search for gratitude, for acceptance. All I can find is mean, red anger. I don't want to let go of my anger, I want to hug it to my chest until I explode.
I close my eyes, and lose myself in thoughts of a drink. I picture the weight of the wine glass in my hand, the sweet buttery smell of a good Chardonnay. I let myself drink it, in my head. I feel my body relax. I smile. I paint a mental picture of what I wish drinking was like for me, and I mourn it for a few minutes.
Then, finally, I do what I was told to do. I think through the drink. I mentally fast forward an hour, or two. I picture myself crouched in my bathroom, grabbing in the back of the cabinet for my stashed bottle, because my husband is done with his nightly drink and I don't want to stop. I can't stop. I've never been able to stop.
There is nothing in a drink for me.
I go back downstairs. My husband is stirring the noodles, Finn is dressed and the kids are happily watching a show.
"Okay now?" he asks, raising an eyebrow.
And I am okay. It is going to be okay.
The next giveaway is the cleverly named Square Swarovski Ring. Made from a sparkling 8mm square swarovski crystal and a sterling silver bead frame, this ring is available in three different colors:
Click on any picture to see the ring listed in my Etsy shop. To enter, please comment below indicating you would like to enter, and please provide an email address and which color you prefer (amethyst, aquamarine or sage green). If you are more comfortable emailing me directly, please do so at: email@example.com.
The winner will be chosen at random on February 15th; my daughter draws a name from a hat. I will email you if you win!